Speech by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. European Tour, March, 1966. AFRICAN AMERICAN HISTORY, LITERATURE.

Speech by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. European Tour, March, 1966

N.p. S.i., 1966. First Edition. Quarto (27.75cm); photostatically-reproduced sheets (rectos), with text printed in black on 8.5" x 11" white stock, stapled at upper left corner; 10pp. Some oxidation and related spotting around staple, double hole-punch at upper margin; Near Fine.

In mid-March, 1966, after a massive rally at Chicago's International Amphitheatre, King, John Lewis, and Harry Belafonte went to Europe on a fundraising tour for the SCLC and SNCC, visiting Lyon, Paris, and Stockholm. The fundraising effort took place amid significant controversy; the U.S. government, "afraid that Doc would openly oppose the Vietnam War - this was a year before his speech at the Riverside Church - tried to get the humanitarian sponsoring organization to cancel. But actors sympathetic to the SCLC - Peter O'Toole, Melina Mercouri, Yves Montand, and Simone Signoret - intervened and secured an even larger venue for the event that would feature a speech by Doc and songs by Belafonte. The U.S. State Department ordered the American ambassador to France not to attend" (cf.Smiley, Tavis. Death of a King: The Real Story of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s Final Year, Chapter 10).

King, ever-conscious of his audience, delivered a few variations of this speech, crafting a narrative history beginning in 1619, when "the first Negro slaves landed on the shores of America," through nearly two and a half centuries until the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation, and the racial discrimination experienced by African Americans into the 1960's. He poignantly captures the difficulties of slum life, the civil rights movement's struggles and successes, and how much work there is yet to be done. "The challenge confronting the world citizen even in this latter half of the twentieth century is to break down the dividing walls of hostility, free men of all nations that they may face one another without protective devices and defense mechanisms in confidence that men can live together in love and that the family of man can encompass many nations, extend beyond oceans and overcome the historic, racial, political and economic factors which have perennially plunged man into the depths of dissension and divided him into warring factions" (p.2) ... "The problems which I have described in America are not confined to America, for the world is replete with the struggles of the under-privileged. The history of our time is one of revolution against political domination and no nation is devoid of a caste system of some sort. Therefore, the Grand Experiment which we now conduct in America is of tremendous relevance to the rest of the world; and you, by your support of the nonviolent movement in America and your concern for social justice in America, contribute to the dawn of a new day of brotherhood where black men and white men, yellow men and brown men, rich men and poor men, Catholic and Protestant, Jew and atheist, capitalist and Communist can co-exist and respect one another" (pp.9-10).

A scarce, unpublished speech, not separately listed in OCLC, though we note copies held with the Hosea L. Williams papers at Auburn and the King Center Library and Archives.

Price: $5,500.00

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